The Massacre of the Innocents part 4


    Theymade their way toward the Golden Sun and knocked at the door. It was openedwith some hesitancy, and the Spaniards entered, warmed themselves before thefire, and demanded ale. They then left the inn, taking with them pots,pitchers, and bread for their companions, and the old man with the white beardwho stood waiting among his soldiers.

     As the street was still deserted, thecommanding officer sent off some horsemen behind the houses to guard thevillage on the side facing the open country, and ordered the footmen to bringto him all children two years old or under, as he intended to massacre them, inaccordance with what is written in the Gospel of St. Matthew.

    Themen went first to the small inn of the Green Cabbage and the barber`s hut,which stood close to each other in the central part of the street. One of themopened the pigsty and a whole litter of pigs escaped and roamed about throughthe village. The innkeeper and the barber came out of their houses and humblyinquired of the soldiers what was wanted, but the Spaniards understood noFlemish, and entered the houses in search of the children.

    Theinnkeeper had one who, dressed in its little shirt, was sitting on the dinnertable, crying. One of the soldiers took it in his arms and carried it off outunder the apple trees, while its parents followed weeping.

    Stables of the barrel-maker

    Thefoot-soldiers next threw open the stables of the barrel-maker, the blacksmith,and the cobbler, and cows, calves, asses, pigs, goats and sheep wandered hereand there over the square. When they broke the windows of the carpenter`shouse, a number of the wealthiest and oldest peasants of the parish gathered inthe street and advanced toward the Spaniards.

    Theyrespectfully took off their caps and hats to the velvet-clad chief, asking himwhat he intended to do, but he too did not understand their language, and oneof them ran off to get the cur6. He was about to go to Benediction, and wasputting on his golden chasuble in the sacristy.

    The peasants cried, β€œThe Spaniards are in the orchard!” Terror stricken, he ran to the church door, followed by the choir-boys carrying their censers and candles. From the door he could see the cattle and other animals set loose from their stables wandering over the grass and snow, the Spanish horsemen, the foot-soldiers before the doors of the houses, horses tied to trees all along the street, and men and women supplicating the soldier who carried the child still clad in its shirt.

    He hastened into the churchyard, the peasants turning anxiously toward him, their priest, who arrived like a god covered with gold, out there among the pear-trees. They pressed close about him as he stood facing the white-bearded man. He spoke both in Flemish and Latin, but the officer slowly shrugged his shoulders to show that he failed to understand.

    Read More about War with the Normans part 18